St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of March 25-31

photo: Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter (Michael McLoone/Imagn)

Spring game recap

Monday, March 25 – Cardinals 6 at Redbirds 3

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals visited their Triple-A affiliate Memphis Redbirds in an exhibition game on Monday to end the spring season.  Michael Wacha took the mound for the Cardinals, while Adam Wainwright started for the Memphis team so both could get their work in.  Wacha pitched four innings, giving up one unearned run on two hits. The right hander fanned five.  Mike Mayers followed with a scoreless fifth.  Alex Reyes surrendered two runs in 1 1/3 innings pitched.  Connor Jones and Ryan Meisinger combined for the final two outs of the seventh. Andrew Miller pitched a scoreless eighth and Jordan Hicks hurled a scoreless ninth.

Marcell Ozuna hit a third inning three run home off Wainwright, the only runs he allowed.  Dylan Carlson, who replaced Ozuna in left field, went 2-for-3. Tyler O’Neill relieved Harrison Bader in CF and went 2-for-2.  O’Neill plated a run on a single in the sixth, then scored from third on a wild pitch.  Andrew Knizner singled in a run in the ninth.

Evan Mendoza was caught attempting to steal home.  Yairo Munoz made two throwing errors and Paul DeJong also committed a throwing error.


Regular Season games

Thursday, March 28 – Cardinals 4 at Brewers 5

In the first of a four game series in Milwaukee to start the 2019 season, the Cardinals lost a close one.  Miles Mikolas got the start and he didn’t have his best stuff.  Mikolas pitched five innings and gave up five runs on five hits.  Three of the hits were home runs.  The right hander struck out three and walked one.  Dominic Leone pitched a scoreless sixth.  John Brebbia and John Gant added a scoreless seventh and eighth respectively.

St. Louis’ offense got on the board first in the second inning on back to back home runs by Kolten Wong and Harrison Bader.  Wong’s long ball was a two run shot. Wong hit his second home run of the game in the seventh, with the bases empty.  Wong and Bader both went 2-for-3.


Friday, March 29 – Cardinals 9 at Brewers 5

Paul Goldschmidt (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals evened the series with a win on Friday.  It was a historic day for new first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who hit three home runs.  Goldschmidt became the first player in MLB history to hit three home runs in one of first two games of the season.  He went 4-for-5 with five RBI and three runs scored.  Yadier Molina followed Goldschmidt’s first home run in the first inning, a two run shot, with an RBI double.  Paul DeJong plated a run on a single in the fourth.  Goldschmidt’s second home run came in the sixth inning.  In the seventh, Matt Carpenter singled in a run and Goldschmidt followed with his third home run, which scored Carpenter.  Molina came home on a wild pitch in the eighth.  Carpenter and DeJong both went 2-for-5.

Starter Jack Flaherty pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, including a three run home run to Ryan Braun.  The right hander fanned four and walked one.  John Gant followed with 1 2/3 scoreless frames.  Alex Reyes pitched a scoreless seventh.  Andrew Miller surrendered a run in the eighth, a home run to Christian Yelich. Jordan Hicks finished with a scoreless ninth.

Molina had a passed ball.


Saturday, March 30 – Cardinals 2 at Brewers 4

The Cardinals suffered defeat in Game 3 of the series.  Dakota Hudson was the starter and the losing pitcher.  Hudson, like Flaherty the day before, pitched only 4 1/3 innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on seven hits.  Included in that hit total were three home runs, solo shots by Travis Shaw and Christian Yelich, and a two run blast by Mike Moustakas.  Mike Mayers and Dominic Leone combined to pitch the remaining 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

The first St. Louis run came home via an RBI single from Paul Goldschmidt in the third inning.  Kolten Wong’s double in the fourth scored Marcell Ozuna for the final run.  Ozuna went 2-for-4 and Wong was 3-for-3.  Ozuna also stole his first base of the season.

Goldschmidt committed his first error, a missed catch at first base.


Sunday, March 31 – Cardinals 4 at Brewers 5

In the final game of the series, the Cardinals came out on the wrong end on a ninth inning walk off.  Michael Wacha took the mound to start, and after giving up a first inning solo home run to Cardinal killer Christian Yelich, settled down to pitch six innings without further damage.  Wacha allowed four hits, struck out seven and walked four.

Alex Reyes got the first two outs of the seventh before Andrew Miller walked Yelich, then gave up a single to Ryan Braun that scored an inherited runner.  Miller followed by giving up another single to Travis Shaw that scored Yelich.  Miller returned for the eighth and got the first two outs before Jordan Hicks quickly got the final out.  Hicks then returned to pitch the ninth and the wheels came off the bus.  Hicks gave up a double to Ben Gamel, then a single to Lorenzo Cain.  Yelich doubled to left as Gamel scored to tie the game, and a weak throw by Marcell Ozuna resulted in Cain scoring the winning run.

Paul DeJong’s two run home in the fourth gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.  The lead increased to 4-1 in the fifth when Matt Carpenter and Paul Goldschmidt hit back to back solo home runs.  Carpenter also doubled in the first inning for a 2-for-3 outing.  Kolten Wong was 2-for-4 and stole two bases. He took a thrown baseball to the head on the second attempt, but was able to remain in the game.


The Big Picture

The first week of the season ended with the Cardinals going 1-3 against the Brewers.  Starting pitching giving up the long ball was the primary reason, as all four starters gave up home runs. Mikolas and Hudson surrendered three each, while Flaherty and Wacha each gave up one.  The bullpen was effective, other than the ninth inning debacle in the finale with Hicks on the mound.  Miller also had some hiccups.

The offense made its presence known in the second game.  The fourth game had offense as well, but it turned out to not be enough.  Wong led the offense with hits in all four games, but Goldschmidt made the biggest splash with four long balls and seven RBI in the series.

The defense was fine.  Goldschmidt was tagged with a missed catch error at first base, though the throw was not a good one.

The Cardinals next play two in Pittsburgh, then return home for three games with San Diego.  The team is currently in a very early last place in the NL Central.  Playing well against the Pirates and Padres should fix that.


NL Central Standings

Team W L Pct GB
Milwaukee 3 1 0.750
Cincinnati 1 1 0.550 0.5
Pittsburgh 1 1 0.500 0.5
Chicago 1 2 0.333 1
St. Louis 1 3 0.250 1.5

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

  • 3/25 The Cardinals placed LF Justin Williams on the 10 day injured list. Right hand second metacarpal fracture.
  • 3/25 The Cardinals placed RHP Carlos Martinez on the 10 day injured list. Right shoulder cuff strain.
  • 3/25 The Cardinals placed 3B Jedd Gyorko on the 10 day injured list. Right calf strain.
  • 3/25 The Cardinals placed LHP Brett Cecil on the 10 day injured list. Left hand Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • 3/26 The Cardinals optioned LHP Tyler Webb to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 3/27 The Cardinals sent LHP Chasen Shreve outright to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 3/28 The Cardinals transferred LHP Brett Cecil from the 10 day injured list to the 60 day injured list. Left hand Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • 3/28 The Cardinals claimed RHP Merandy Gonzalez off waivers from the San Francisco Giants and optioned him to the Springfield Cardinals.

Injury Report

  • RHP Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) had an in injection of platelet-rich plasma in early spring training and began the season on the 10 day injured list. Martinez is on a throwing program and is throwing more aggressively in the past few days.  Martinez may return to the roster sometime in May.
  • RHP Luke Gregerson (right shoulder) began the season on the injured list. Gregerson has thrown three bullpen sessions and could possibly return to the roster sometime in April.
  • IF/UT Jedd Gyorko is nursing a calf injury. Gyorko has been taking at bats in minor league camp in Jupiter and is scheduled to return to the roster on Opening Day in St. Louis.
  • LHP Brett Cecil (left arm fatigue) was placed on the 60 day injured list on March 28. Cecil has been shut down from throwing for an indefinite period.  No timetable for a return has been set.
  • LF Justin Williams (fractured right hand) began the season on the 10 day injured list. Williams has been cleared to begin swinging a bat.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals finished a four game series in Milwaukee on Sunday.  The team flies to Pittsburgh to play two games against the Pirates.  The Cardinals will play on Monday, have an off day on Tuesday, then play the second game on Wednesday.  Adam Wainwright is scheduled to make the start on Monday.  Miles Mikolas gets the Wednesday start.

The Cardinals return to St. Louis on Thursday for the home opener against the Padres.  Jack Flaherty is scheduled to take the mound for Opening Day.  Friday is an off day, and the three game series with the Padres resumes on Saturday.  No starters have been announced for the weekend, though with all the days off, Dakota Hudson will be skipped on his next turn and instead work out of the bullpen.

The Dodgers come to town on Monday, April 8 for a four game series.  The Cardinals have another Friday off day following that series in order to travel to Monterrey, Mexico to play a two games set with the Cincinnati Reds.

The Cardinals return to Milwaukee to play the Brewers, starting a three game series on Monday, April 15.  After a Thursday travel day, the Redbirds return home for a weekend series against the New York Mets.

The Cardinals’ Regular Season schedule can be viewed here.


Blast from the Past

The Cardinals will meet the San Diego Padres on Opening Day this Thursday, April 4. In the history of the franchise the Cardinals have played the Padres in the home opener only one other time, in 2011.

That this has occurred only one other time is not particularly unusual given that the Padres have only existed as a franchise since 1969, one of four expansion teams in that year, and of course play in a different division, the NL West.

The Cardinals played a three game series with the Padres, starting with Opening Day, March 31, 2011. The Cardinals lost that game 5-3 in extra innings. Starter Chris Carpenter pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on two hits.  Working in relief were Miguel Batista, Trever Miller, Ryan Franklin, Brian Tallet, and Bryan Augenstein, who took the loss.  2011 was Ryan Franklin’s final season with the Cardinals and it was a short one for the former closer.  Franklin blew the save in this opening game, something that became a regular occurrence in those few months before he was released on June 29.

The 2011 home opener featured a solo home run by Matt Holliday and a triple from Colby Rasmus.  Holliday went 3-for-4 with two RBI.

The second game of the set was played on April 2.  The Cardinals lost again in an 11-3 laugher.  Starter Jake Westbrook gave up eight runs in 4 1/3 innings.  Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs pitched in relief.  Albert Pujols hit a solo home run and was 2-for-4.

The final game was played on Sunday, April 3.  The Cardinals avoided the sweep with a 2-0 win.  Jaime Garcia pitched a complete game, allowing only four hits.  This was the first of the left-hander’s two complete games in 2011.  Skip Schumaker went 2-for-3.  Ryan Theriot and Yadier Molina drove in the two runs.

Though the Cardinals lost 2 of 3 in this opening series, it made no difference to the final result of the season, as the Cardinals went on to win their 11th World Series Championship that fall.

Cardinals fans can only hope for the same result for 2019.  Is there an omen here?  Only time will tell.


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